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Slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with jewelled couscous

If you enjoy lamb as much as I do and want to serve your family or your guests something different, I would suggest you give this week’s recipe a try. Not only will you find it a perfect dish for your summer Sunday lunch or for a dinner but you can impress your guests with its middle eastern flare.
Couscous is becoming a popular alternative to potatoes,  rice or pasta as a speedily prepared accompaniment. If you have the time and the patience you can prepare it yourself but personally I use the 5 minute packet variety, which is now available in almost all super markets. The following recipe for preparing it is worth the extra effort and makes a savory and exotic bed for the lamb.  

Slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with jewelled couscous

Serves 4
1 lamb shoulder, about 2.5kg
50ml olive oil
100g butter
4 medium onions, sliced
10 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 bay leaves
400ml white wine
For the couscous
500g medium couscous
25ml extra-virgin olive oil
150g peeled, diced cucumber
150g fresh pomegranate seeds
1 bunch of thinly sliced spring onions
30g chopped flat-leaf parsley
30g chopped mint
30g chopped coriander
100g toasted pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 120C/gas mark ½. You will need a casserole or a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Place the pot on a high heat with the oil and butter. Brown the seasoned lamb all over. Remove the lamb from the casserole and set aside.
Using the fat that remains, lightly colour the onions, garlic and herbs. Pour in the white wine and bring to a boil. Return the lamb to the pot, season again with salt and pepper. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bake slowly for five hours until the lamb is falling away from the bone. Keep checking there is always liquid in the pot; if it is getting a bit dry, top it up with water.
During the last 15 minutes of cooking turn the oven up to 180C/gas mark 4, remove the lid and continue to cook the lamb to crisp slightly. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature. Serve on a dish with the onion mixture and remaining cooking juices.
Place the couscous in a bowl, boil 500ml water, season it with salt and pour it over the couscous, add the olive oil and mix with a fork. Cover the couscous and leave for five minutes. Place the diced cucumber in a saucepan, cover with cold water seasoned with salt, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 seconds, drain and refresh with cold water. Using a fork, gently work the couscous so it breaks into individual grains and is light and fluffy. Add the cucumber, pomegranate seeds, spring onions and herbs, season, add a little olive oil and place in a serving dish. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and serve at room temperature. - Fly at a Smile-Price